Orison Swett Marden.

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_To think you can, creates the force that can._



Sixteenth Thousand

[Illustration: Orison S. Marden]







Go boldly; go serenely, go augustly;
Who can withstand thee then!

What a grasp the mind would have if we could always hold the
victorious attitude toward everything! Sweeping past obstacles
and reaching out into the energy of the universe it would gather
to itself material for building a life in its own image.

To be a conqueror in appearance, in one's bearing, is the first step
toward success. It inspires confidence in others as well as in oneself.
Walk, talk and act as though you were a somebody, and you are more
likely to become such. Move about among your fellowmen as though you
believe you are a man of importance. Let victory speak from your face
and express itself in your manner. Carry yourself like one who is
conscious he has a splendid mission, a grand aim in life. Radiate a
hopeful, expectant, cheerful atmosphere. In other words, be a good
advertisement of the winner you are trying to be.

Doubts, fears, despondency, lack of confidence, will not only give you
away in the estimation of others and brand you as a weakling, a probable
failure, but they will react upon your mentality and destroy your
self-confidence, your initiative, your efficiency. They are telltales,
proclaiming to every one you meet that you are losing out in the game of
life. A triumphant expression inspires trust, makes a favorable
impression. A despondent, discouraged expression creates distrust, makes
an unfavorable impression.

If you don't look cheerful and appear and act like a winner nobody will
want you. Every man will turn a deaf ear to your plea for work. No
matter if you are jobless and have been out of work for a long time you
must keep up a winning appearance, a victorious attitude, or you will
lose the very thing you are after. The world has little use for whiners,
or long-faced failures.

It is difficult to get very far away from people's estimate of us. A
bad first impression often creates a prejudice that it is impossible
afterwards wholly to remove. Hence the importance of always radiating a
cheerful, uplifting atmosphere, an atmosphere that will be a
commendation instead of a condemnation. Not that we should deceive by
trying to appear what we are not, but we should always keep our best
side out, not our second best or our worst. Our personal appearance is
our show window where we insert what we have for sale, and we are judged
by what we put there.

The victorious idea of life, not its failure side, its disappointed
side; the triumphant, not the thwarted-ambition side, is the thing to
keep ever uppermost in the mind, for it is this that will lead you to
the light. You must give the impression that you are a success, or that
you have qualities that will make you successful, that you are making
good, or no recommendation or testimonial however strong will counteract
the unfavorable impression you make.

So much of our progress in life depends upon our reputation, upon making
a favorable impression upon others, that it is of the utmost importance
to cultivate mental forcefulness. It is the mind that colors the
personality, gives it its tone and character. If we cultivate will
power, decision, positive instead of negative thinking, we cannot help
making an impression of masterfulness, and everybody knows that this is
the qualification that does things. It is masterfulness, force, that
achieves results, and if we do not express it in our appearance people
will not have confidence in our achieving ability. They may think that
we can sell goods behind a counter, work under orders, carry out some
mechanical routine with faithfulness and precision, but they will not
think we are fitted for leadership, that we can command resources to
meet possible crises or big emergencies.

Never say or do anything which will show the earmarks of a weakling, of
a nobody, of a failure. Never permit yourself to assume a
poverty-stricken attitude. Never show the world a gloomy, pessimistic
face, which is an admission that life has been a disappointment to you
instead of a glorious triumph. Never admit by your speech, your
appearance, your gait, your manner, that there is anything wrong with
you. Hold up your head. Walk erect. Look everybody in the face. No
matter how poor you may be, or how shabby your clothes, whether you are
jobless, homeless, friendless even, show the world that you respect
yourself, that you believe in yourself, and that, no matter how hard the
way, you are marching on to victory. Show by your expression that you
can think and plan for yourself, that you have a forceful mentality.

The victorious, triumphant attitude will put you in command of resources
which a timid, self-depreciating, failure attitude will drive from you.

This was well illustrated by a visitor to the Athenæum Library in
Boston. Ignorant of the fact that members only were entitled to its
special privileges, this visitor entered the place with a confident
bearing, seated herself in a comfortable window seat, and spent a
delightful morning reading and writing letters. In the evening she
called on a friend and in the course of conversation, referred to her
morning at the Athenæum.

"Why, I didn't know you were a member!" exclaimed the friend.

"A member! No," said the lady. "I am not a member. But what difference
does that make?"

The friend, who held an Athenæum card of membership, smiled and replied:

"Only this, that none but members are supposed to enjoy the privileges
of which you availed yourself this morning!"

Our manner and our appearance are determined by our mental outlook. If
we see only failure ahead we will act and look like failures. We have
already failed. If we expect success, see it waiting for us a little bit
up the road, we will act and look like successes. We have already
succeeded. The failure attitude loses; the victorious attitude wins.

Had the lady in Boston had any doubt of her right to enter the Athenæum
and freely to use all its conveniences, her manner would have betrayed
it. The library attendants would have noticed it at once, and have asked
her to show her card of membership. But her assured air gave the
impression that she was a member. Her victorious attitude dominated the
situation, and put her in command of resources which otherwise she could
not have controlled.

The spirit in which you face your work, in which you grapple with a
difficulty, the spirit in which you meet your problem, whether you
approach it like a conqueror, with courage, a vigorous resolution, with
firmness, or with timidity, doubt, fear, will determine whether your
career will be one grand victory or a complete failure.

It is a great thing so to carry yourself wherever you go that when
people see you coming they will say to themselves, "Here comes a winner!
Here is a man who dominates everything he touches."

Thinking of yourself as habitually lucky will tend to make you so, just
as thinking of yourself as habitually unlucky and always talking about
your failures and your cruel fate will tend to make you unlucky. The
attitude of mind which your thoughts and convictions produce is a real
force which builds or tears down. The habit of always seeing yourself as
a fortunate individual, the feeling grateful just for being alive, for
being allowed to live on this beautiful earth and to have a chance to
make good will put your mind in a creative, producing attitude.

We should all go through life as though we were sent here with a sublime
mission to lift, to help, to boost, and not to depress and discourage,
and so discredit the plan of the Creator. Our conduct should show that
we are on this earth to play a magnificent part in life's drama, to make
a splendid contribution to humanity.

The majority of people seem to take it for granted that life is a great
gambling game in which the odds are heavily against them. This
conviction colors their whole attitude, and is responsible for
innumerable failures.

In the betting machines used by horse racing gamblers the bettors make
the odds. If, for example, five hundred persons bet on a certain horse,
and a hundred bet on another, then the first horse automatically becomes
a five to one choice, and the odds in favor of his winning are five to
one. In the game of life most of us start out by putting the odds on our

In horse race gambling the judgment that forms the basis of belief as to
the winning horse has a comparatively secure foundation in a knowledge
of the qualifications of the different racers. In life gambling it is
merely the unsupported opinion or viewpoint of the individual that puts
the odds against himself. The majority of people look on the probability
of their winning out in the life game in any distinctive way as highly
improbable. When they look around and see how comparatively few of the
multitudes of men and women in the world are winning they say to
themselves, "Why should I think that I have a greater percentage of
chance in my favor than others about me? These people have as much
ability as I have, perhaps more, and if they can do no more than grub
along from hand to mouth, of what use is it for me to struggle against

When people believe and figure that they cannot, and therefore never
will, be successes, and conduct themselves according to their
conviction: when they take their places in life not as probable winners,
but as probable losers, is it any wonder that the odds are heavily
against them?

"Mad! Insane! Eccentric!" we say when some miserable recluse dies in
squalor and wretchedness, - "Starved," the coroner's inquest finds,
although bank books revealing large deposits, or else hoards of gold,
are discovered hidden away in nooks and crannies of the wretched miser's

Are such persons, whom we call mad, insane, eccentric, who stint and
save, and hoard in the midst of plenty, refusing even to buy food to
keep them alive, any worse than those who face life in a
poverty-stricken, failure attitude, refusing to see and enjoy the
riches, the glories all around them? Is it any wonder that life is a
disappointment to them? Is it any wonder that they see only what they
look for, get only what they expect?

What would you think of an actor who was trying to play the part of a
great hero, but who insisted on assuming the attitude of a coward, and
thinking like one; who wore the expression of a man who did not believe
he could do the thing he had undertaken, who felt that he was out of
place, that he never was made to play the part he was attempting?
Naturally you would say the man never could succeed on the stage, and
that if he ever hoped to win success, the first thing he should do would
be to try to think himself the character, as well as to look the part,
he was trying to portray. That is just what the great actor does. He
flings himself with all his might into the rôle he is playing. He sees
himself as, and feels that he is actually, the character he is
impersonating. He lives the part he is playing on the stage, whether it
be that of a beggar or a hero. If he is playing the part of a hero he
acts like a hero, thinks and talks like a hero. His very manner radiates
heroism. And vice versa, if the part he takes is that of a beggar, he
dresses like one, thinks like one, bows, cringes and whines like a

Now, if you are trying to be successful you must act like a successful
person, carry yourself like one, talk, act and think like a winner. You
must radiate victory wherever you go. You must maintain your attitude by
believing in the thing you are trying to do. If you persist in looking
and acting like a failure or a very mediocre or doubtful success, if you
keep telling everybody how unlucky you are, and that you do not believe
you will win out because success is only for a few, that the great
majority of people must be hewers of wood and drawers of water, you will
be about as much of a success as the actor who attempts to personate a
certain type of character while looking, thinking and acting exactly
like its opposite.

By a psychological law we attract that which corresponds with our mental
attitude, with our faith, our hopes, our expectations, or with our
doubts and fears. If this were fully understood, and used as a working
principle in life, we would have no poverty, no failures, no criminals,
no down-and-outs. We would not see people everywhere with expressions
which indicate that there is very little enjoyment in living; that it is
a serious question with them whether life is really worth while, whether
it really pays to struggle on in a miserable world where rewards are so
few and uncertain and pains and penalties so numerous and so certain.

Every boy, every girl should be taught to assume the victorious attitude
toward life. All through a youth's education the idea should be drilled
into him that he is intended to be a winner in life, that he is himself
a prince, a god in the making. From his cradle up he should be taught to
hold his head high, and to look on himself as a son of the King of
kings, destined for great things.

No child is properly reared and educated until he or she knows how to
lead a victorious life. This is what true education means - victory over
self, victory over conditions.

It always pains me to hear a youth who ought to be full of hope and high
promise express a doubt as to his future career. To hear him talk about
his possible failure sounds like treason to his Creator. Why, youth
itself is victory. Youth is a great prophecy, the forerunner of a superb
fulfillment. A young man or a young woman talking about failure is like
beauty talking about ugliness; like superb health dwelling upon weakness
and disease; like perfection dwelling upon imperfection. Youth means
victory, because everything in the life of the healthy boy or girl is
looking upward. There is no downgrade in normal youth; it is its nature
to climb, to look up. Its very atmosphere should breathe hope, superb
promise of the future.

If all children were reared with such a triumphant conception of life,
with such an unshakable belief in their heritage from God, that nothing
could discourage them, we would hear no talk of failure; we would soon
sight the millenium. If they were made to understand that there is only
one failure to be feared, - failure to make good, the failure of
character, the failure to keep growing, to ennoble and enrich one's
life, - this world would be a paradise.

Just think what would happen if all of the down-and-outs to-day, all of
the people who look upon themselves as failures or as dwarfs of what
they ought to be, could only get this victorious, this triumphant, idea
of life, if they could only once glimpse their own possibilities and
assume the triumphant attitude! They would never again be satisfied to
grovel. If they once got a glimpse of their divinity, once saw
themselves in the sublime robes of their power, they never again would
be satisfied with the rags of their poverty.

But instead of trying to improve their condition, to get away from their
failure, poverty-stricken atmosphere, they cling the more closely to it
and sink deeper and deeper in the quagmire of their own making.
Everywhere we find whining, miserable people grumbling at everything,
complaining that "life is not worth living," that "the game is not worth
the candle," that "life is a cheat, a losing game."

Life is not a losing game. It is always victorious when properly played.
It is the players who are at fault. The great trouble with all failures
is that they were not started right. It was not drilled into the very
texture of their being in youth that what they would get out of life
must be created mentally first, and that inside the man, inside the
woman, is where the great creative processes of life are carried on.

That which man does with his hands is secondary. It is what he does with
his brain that counts. That is what starts things going. Some of us
never learn how to create with our minds. We depend too much upon
creating with our hands, or on other people to help us. We depend too
much on the things outside of us when the mainspring of life, the power
that moves the world of men and things, is inside of us.

There are times when we cannot see the way ahead, when we seem to be
completely enveloped in the fogs of discouragement, disappointment and
failure of our plans, but we can always do the thing that means
salvation for us, that is persistently, determinedly, everlastingly to
face towards our goal whether we can see it or not. This is our only
chance of overcoming our difficulties. If we turn about face, turn our
back on our goal, we are headed toward disaster.

No matter how many obstacles may block your path, or how dark the way,
if you look up, think up, and struggle up, you can't help succeeding.
Whatever you do for a living, whatever fortune or misfortune may come to
you, hold the victorious attitude and push ahead.

A captain might as well turn about his ship when he strikes a fog bank,
because he cannot see the way ahead of him, and still expect to make his
distant harbor, as for you to drop your victorious attitude and face the
other way just because you have run into a fog bank of disappointment or
failure. The only hope of the captain's reaching his destination is in
being true to the compass that guides him in the fog and darkness as
well as in the light. He may not see the way, but he can follow his
compass. That we also can do by holding the victorious attitude towards
life, the only attitude that can insure safety and bring us into port.



"Where there is Faith there is Love,
Where there is Love there is Peace,
Where there is Peace there is God,
Where there is God there is no need."

There is a divine voice within us which only speaks when every
other voice is hushed, - only gives its message in the silence.

"I shall study law," said an ambitious youngster, "and those who are
already in the profession must take their chances!"

The divine self-confidence of youth, the unshaken faith that believes
all things possible, often makes cynics and world-weary people smile.
Yet it is the grandest, most helpful attribute of man, the finest gift
of the Creator to the race. If we could retain through life the faith of
ambitious, self-confident, untried youth, its unquestioning belief in
its ability to carve out its ideal in the actual, what wonders we should
all accomplish! Such faith would enable us literally to remove

All through the Scriptures faith is emphasized as a tremendous power. It
was by faith that Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, through
the waters of the Red Sea, and through the wilderness. It was by faith
that Elijah, Isaiah, Daniel, and all of the great prophets performed
their miracles.

Faith was the great characteristic of Christ Himself. The word was
constantly on His lips, "According to thy faith be it unto thee." He
often referred to it as the measure of what we receive in life, also as
the great healer, the great restorer. Whenever He healed He laid the
entire emphasis upon the faith of the healer and the one healed. "Thy
faith hath made thee whole," "Believe only and she shall be made whole,"
"Thy faith hath saved thee." Or He reproved His disciples for the lack
of faith which prevented them from healing, as when He addresses them,
"O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and
suffer you."

Faith believes; doubt fears. Faith creates; doubt destroys. Faith opens
the door to all things desirable in life; doubt closes them. Faith is an
arouser, an awakener of our creative forces. It opens the door of
ability and arouses creative energies. Faith is the link in the Great
Within which connects man with his Maker. It is the divine messenger
sent to guide men, blinded by doubt and sin. Our faith puts us in touch
with Infinite Power, opens the way to unbounded possibilities, limitless
resources. No one can rise higher than his faith. No one can do a
greater thing than he believes he can. The fact that a person believes
implicitly that he can do what may seem impossible to others, shows
there is something within him that has gotten a glimpse of power
sufficient to accomplish his purpose.

Men who have achieved great things could not account for their faith;
they could not tell why they had an unflinching belief that they could
do what they undertook. But the mere fact of such belief was evidence
that they had had a glimpse of interior resourcefulness, reserve power
and possibilities which would warrant that faith; and they have gone
ahead with implicit confidence that they would come out all right,
because this faith told them so. It told them so because it had been in
communication with something that was divine, that which had passed the
bounds of the limited and had veered into the limitless.

Men and women who have left their mark on the world have been implicit
followers of their faith when they could see no light; but their unseen
guide has led them through the wilderness of doubt and hardship into the
promised land.

When we begin to exercise self-faith, self-confidence, we are
stimulating and increasing the strength of the faculties which enable us
to do the thing we have set our heart on doing. Our faith causes us to
concentrate on our object, and thus develops power to accomplish it.
Faith tells us that we may proceed safely, even when our mental
faculties see no light or encouragement ahead. It is a divine leader
which never misdirects us. But we must always be sure that it is faith,
and not merely egotism or selfish desire that is urging us. There is a
great difference between the two, and no one who is true to himself can
possibly be deceived.

When we are doing right, when we are on the right track, our faith in
the divine order of things never wavers. It sustains in situations
which drive the self-centered egoist to despair. The man who does
not see the Designer behind the design everywhere, who does not
see the mighty Intelligence back of every created thing, cannot
have that sublime faith which buoys up the great achievers and

Our supreme aim should be to get the best from life, the best in the
highest sense that life has to give, and this we cannot do without
superb faith in the Infinite. What we accomplish will be large or small
according to the measure of this faith. It is the man who believes in
the one Source of All who believes most in himself; it is the man who
sees good in everything, who sees the divine in his fellow-man, who has
faith in everybody, who is the master man. The skeptic, the pessimist,
has no bulwark of faith, none of the divine enthusiasm that faith gives,

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Online LibraryOrison Swett MardenThe Victorious Attitude → online text (page 1 of 17)